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Apr 2012 

Shakuntala Devi, India’s ‘Human Computer’

Shakuntala Devi came to be known as a ‘Human Computer’ due to her mental mathematical abilities that always astounded people all over the world. She was born on 4 November,1939, in Bangalore, Karnataka (a state in southern India). Shakuntala Devi was an outstanding calculating prodigy of India. Give her a date and she would tell you the day, people who ever had a chance to meet her in person would say with amazement to those listening in disbelief.

According to the biography on Shakuntla Devi at StudyMode, she came from a humble family. Her father was a trapeze and tightrope performer and later on acted as a human cannonball in a circus. It is said that her innate aptitude with numbers was discovered quite by chance when she was merely three years of age, when while playing cards with her father she beat him by memorizing the cards.

At six, Shakuntala Devi demonstrated her calculation skills at the University of Mysore and at 8, again at Annamalai University. In 1977, she calculated the 23rd root of a 201-digit number in just 50 seconds. In 1980, she multiplied two 13-digit numbers, 7,686,369,774,870 and 2,465,099,745,779, given to her randomly by the Computer Department of Imperial College, London.  She correctly answered 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730 in just 28 seconds and won a place in the 1995 Guinness Book of Records in which the incident is mentioned.


Shakuntal Devi’s interest included astrology as well. Shakuntala Devi has also written numerous books, some of which are - Puzzles to Puzzle You, Fun with Numbers, Astrology for you and Mathablity. She passed away in April of 2013 in a Banglore hospital at 80.

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